|Les sans papiers ask to be heard.|
Here in France, like in other places, you have two types of people. The "haves", and the "have nots". What you do or don't have is your papers stating your legal status in France. L'administration makes it simple. The "have nots" are called les sans papiers. Now to each his own situation but when you come from another land and you are asked to employ CIA stealth to gather original documents -translated and properly stamped by your home consulate and dated less than 3 months old . . . . you must be joking!
To face the French administration is to leave a trail of blood, sweat, tears and those little numbered tickets that you will have a collection of before the end of your ordeal. Maybe one day I shall gather them and make a work of art. . . . which reminds me- you also leave some of your sanity under the fluorescent lights.
A typical scenario at the immigration office goes like this:
- You go to the office. It's open, just not during the only hours that you are free . . .
- Three weeks have passed because various holidays have intervened and the office was closed. You go to the office.
- You get there half an hour early but you are still like the 40th person there.
- They open
lateand you get your numbered ticket. I'll spare you the details of crying babies, questionable hygiene and only 10 chairs for 100 people.
- You go to the Pre-Reception (seriously? only in France) when your number appears on the screen. Your heart starts racing. Why?
- Because you are told that you cannot pass GO because you don't have x form . . . AND y form should be in triplicate even though it wasn't mentioned on the list of documents to bring. Yes, they are sympathetic that the copier is not working today . . try harder next time!
- Go home and drink.
- Rinse and repeat at least 2 more times.